How to Create Your Own Home Security System on the Cheap


NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Ensuring that your home is safe and secure is now simple since consumers can easily check on their apartment or pets with a touch of a button by recycling their old electronics.

Consumers are now eschewing the traditional method of using a home security provider who require you to sign a lengthy contract and make monthly payments.

By using your smart devices and various apps, consumers can easily create their own home monitoring and security system.

Nearly 25 million old iPhones, iPads and iPods are sitting around homes and offices unused. You can turn your smart device into a video monitoring system that has motion detection and sensors. A free app made by People Power Presence can act like a lightweight security system and keep you connected to your home even when you are at work or on vacation, said Robert Siciliano, a home security expert with

By repurposing the gadgets you spent thousands of dollars on, you can use the app to check on your pets, children, or elderly relatives. Small business owners can make use of the motion sensors and alerts while their stores are closed.

The app allows users to engage in two-way audio and visual communication with someone at the camera location, said Siciliano.

People Power's Presence app is free from the Apple app store, but the company plans to expand beyond iOS-based cameras by adding Android support, smart plugs, thermostat controls and robotic camera holders.

Dropcam is a San Francisco-based startup that sells a Wi-Fi video monitoring camera and utilizes bank-level security to encrypt all streaming video so no one else can ever access your video. The camera also features night vision, digital zoom and two-way talk back.

One of the unique features of Dropcam is that users who sign up for the cloud video recording service can have access to their video recordings even if a burglar was to come in and steal the camera. Dropcam allows users to set up mobile and email alerts when a movement triggers the camera. The company raised $30 million in Series C funding in July.

If you have ever lost a key or needed to make a spare key after hours, KeyMe, a New York-based startup can help you get another key inexpensively.

By using their free app, users store their keys by capturing photo snapshots of both sides of each key. Any locksmith can then create new keys from scratch by viewing duplication instructions that are developed based on the snapshots and displayed through the app.

Locksmiths routinely charge an average of $150 for an emergency lock change. That data is stored in your digital keychain and when you need another copy of your key, it costs $9.99 to unlock that information, plus the price of your locksmith's cutting work. The app also has a sharing feature, so your friend or family member can make a copy of your key without you being present.

"Our goal is to make that process faster and cheaper since 90 million Americans are locked out of homes each year and spend $3 billion on emergency locksmiths," said Greg Marsh, CEO and founder, who was inspired to create the startup when his wife locked herself out of their home multiple times.

KeyMe also has five kiosks in NYC where you can make a copy of your key quickly at 7-ElevenĀ® stores, which are all open 24 hours a day.

The company does not store any personally identifiable information such as credit card information and only keeps your email address and password.

"The is a massive industry with no innovation," said Marsh. "We are trying to make the process very easy for people so you can make a key from scratch without the original key being present."

--Written by Ellen Chang for MainStreet

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